Is high-tech laziness the new productivity?
leveraging the power of online distribution can transform the way we look at work
It’s been postulated that prehistoric men and women only worked on average about 18 hours a week. This was all the time it took to hunt and kill an animal that could feed the small tribe you were a part of before it began to spoil, or to gather roots and berries in the same regard. The rest of the time, supposedly, these prehistoric people spent their days lounging about in the sun, mating, dreaming up language and carving elaborate cave paintings etc. It was a good life, though often a short one.
As humanity progressed into mechanization in the 19th and 20th centuries the ideal work philosophy was one of frantic productivity and "bigger is better." In today’s world, civilization has invented so many forms of technology, entertainment, opportunities for traveling, and in trying new lifestyles in terms of foods, clothing and places to live from this foundation of furious activity that there is an increasing demand for high incomes to pay for all of it.
But is this how humanity is best designed to live? Is it how we best tap into the power of our minds? We still follow Puritan ethics from centuries past in spending the large bulk of our lives working so that we can save up money to pay for all of this neat manufactured stuff.
Is the trade off worth it? How many hours a week of labor is worth exchanging for living the high life? We have 168 hours in a week, but taking away 56 for 8 hours a day of sleep leaves 112, and if you subtract necessary time for things like morning showers, cleaning your home, commuting etc, you probably lose at least another 12 hours. That leaves 100 hours a week of free time to work or pursue other activities. Many workers and students today however often put in 80 hour work weeks or more, and are so exhausted at the end of the day that their remaining free 20 hours are spent in a half-catatonic daze, watching the "good life" of the Kardashians on their home TV screens and feeling they somehow missed the boat somewhere along the line. This is supposedly the life we’ve always dreamed of, the American dream of abundance, surrounded by our gadgets, fancy homes, cars and fat bank accounts.
Do we really have to expend all this effort however to obtain these things anymore? It is my contention that the technology at our fintertips now offers us a better solution. It is in many ways akin to the practice our prehistoric ancestors used when they lived a simple life among nature. The primary asset of a prehistoric man or woman that ensured their survival and prosperity was the use of their mind, or rather, their imagination, their ability to predict, tell stories, and share knowledge.
We moved away from this with mechanization, where humanity instead relied on a human being's dexterity and physical abilities to foster the benefits of the moving assembly line. As technology has advanced, it has encouraged individuals to specialize in narrow fields of knowledge in order to increase productivity and add value to labor, so individuals stand out from the crowd and have something to offer others who lack such unique knowledge.
Then came the Internet and eventually with it, a way to efficiently spread commerce around the globe. The real value of the Internet is not in its global networking capability for consumers and suppliers however but instead its basic structural characteristic. It is first and foremost, in fact nothing but a way for information to be rapidly transferred from one point to another, one individual or group to another. It is the most advanced form of social technology ever invented, and may in fact finally provide a way for many of us to return to a life of caveman ease, while keeping the high tech abundance we've grown accustomed to.
The key aspect to living a lazy, labor-free life is to have resources easily available at hand. With prehistoric man this was accomplished by nature. The human population was small as compared to today, and herds of animals and fruit and vegetable bearing plants were readily available. Without a concept of land ownership and no pollution or large-scale farming to alter balanced ecosystems, small native groups could easily acquire the resources they needed nearby without complaint or trouble.
In most of the 20th century the only way you had nearly effortless access to advanced goods and services was to be born rich, or by working very long and hard to educate yourself and acquire it through a lifetime of your own labor. Based on this way of thinking, we've come to see the Internt as just an extension of old-fashioned commerce. In the past we’ve been encouraged to be consumers of what it provides based on the old model of industrialized society run from the top down.
Yet we are just as capable of being producers online as we are consumers. As the web has grown, thousands of distribution points have cropped up where you can easily sell what you know, or sell what you imagine. These range from affiliate marketing article sites like Infobarrel, to distribution sites like Smashwords and Amazon where you can upload any eBook you've written for free, available to millions of viewers day and night around the globe. These products of your mind remain yours. You don't surrender any rights to them. And they remain available to others as long as you wish them to be.
This is known popularly as "passive" or "residual" income, but it is really something much more fundamental. It is a way to use your imagination to survive and prosper, as our ancient ancestors did, and with minimal labor on your part. Instead of making one product for one customer (a typical job), you imagine one product, and make it available to potentially billions of customers.
We've transitioned from the Industrial Age of the 1800s, to the Space Age of the 1900s, and the Information Age of today. Yet I believe we are actually witnessing the start of the Imagination Age. It is the same age our caveman and cavewoman ancestors lived in. We've come full circle. If you can embrace the unique view of laziness they had, and put it to work for your own benefit in the modern world, you can begin to sow the seeds of a lifestyle that will free you from the slavery of the 9 - 5 routine.
To do so, you have to see the Internet for what it trully is, a vast, untamed savannah, a parallel and imaginary world to the real prehistoric one of eons past. Except today, it is populated daily by the minds of the billions of residents of planet Earth.
Such a frontier realm without borders or the normal limitations, arbitrary rules or restrictions of old industrialized, labor intensive thinking offers incalculable opportunity. A chance to plant seeds of your creation wherever you may, and slowly wait for them to come to fruition. Not all the seed will grow, but if you persist, enough will that it can change your life in ways you didn't imagine.
The Internet is a massive, free distribution system like none other, a pyramid scheme that actually works! If you are willing to put in the time building the base of that pyramid and letting it grow organically into something beyond your expectations, you have entered a new age of thinking. Only a select few have tried this so far, while most cling to the old system.
Why not give it a try? If you can exercise the same patience as a prehistoric man or woman must have had sitting on a hill and waiting for the herds to return, you can build up a book chapter by chapter, and wait for it to sell, or build up a collection of articles for the same purpose.
Use the technology of the Imagination Age at your flint-er-tips, er, fingertips, and you will make your caveman ancestors proud!